A juvenile cougar has been destroyed by conservation officers in the Penticton area after it mauled a dog and was seen with the remains of a house cat.
According to the Conservation Officer Service, a report came through Saturday afternoon of a cougar attacking an off-leash dog on a trail near Evergreen Drive.
Conservation Officer Clayton DeBruin explained that the juvenile cougar attacked the off-leash dog and attempted to take it away. The owner was able to fend off the cougar and retrieve their dog. However as they were returning to their vehicle the cougar followed them for upwards of a kilometre.
The dog was taken to the vet and is expected to recover.
A day later, the Conservation Officer Service received a report of a juvenile cougar laying under an RV in a townhouse complex on Green Avenue West.
After investigating, officers found that the cougar had the remains of a house cat with it.
“We knew that we were dealing with a cat (cougar) that had a pattern of taking domestic pets instead of sticking to its natural diet of deer and smaller wildlife,” said DeBruin. “We did have to remove that cat, for reasons of public safety and protection of private property.”
DeBruin reminded the public that during winter months, cougars are following deer populations into communities. He said it is normal to experience an increase in cougar activity during this time.
He encouraged those walking their dogs in heavily wooded areas to be aware of the possible presence of a cougar.
“A cougar may assess your dog as one of its natural prey species and so it’s important to keep those dogs on a leash,” said DeBruin.
“If you come across a cougar, the best thing you can do is maintain an assertive or aggressive stance, make yourself appear as big as possible, make noise, put your dog on a leash. If you have a smaller dog, pick it up and return to the nearest human-occupied area, all the while maintaining a visual of the cougar.”
So far this year there have been some sightings of cougars reported to the Conservation Officer Service, however this incident of the cougar being destroyed is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area.
If you observe a cougar within your community or observe cougars on trail networks displaying abnormal predatory behaviour, report it to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.